A few pipe manufacturers have made the conscious decision to search out and purchase the best briar available and to invest whatever time is necessary to provide the highest quality
Among the most famous of these high-grade makers is S. Bang of Copenhagen.

Svend Bang, the founder and namesake of S. Bang pipes, made his start in the pipes and tobacco trade during World War ll Bang himself made only a few pipes, and was businessman enough to know that his talents did not lie in pipe carving

In the 70’es Danish pipes were enjoying growing popularity around the world, and Bang wanted a share of the market with a Danish pipe of his own. He therefore hired Per Hansen away from the famous pipe maker, Preben i Holm. About a year later another pipe maker was added to the staff: Ulf Noltensmeier.
Hansen and Noltensmeier had worked together with Preben Holm for about two months, so they were not strangers. Noltensmeier had been working with famed Danish carver Anne Julie for a little more than a year before joining S. Bang.

Svend Bang evidently felt a great deal of pride in the product that he initiated throughout his career and retirement and until his death in 1993.
Once Hansen and Noltensmeier took over the company (in 1984) they knew it was best to retain the S. Bang name - the two carvers always shared the same philosophy about that. Noltensmeier and Hansen were determined to maintain top quality at the expense of increased numbers.
Still, they are two separate carvers, with their own styles and preferences. Each makes his own pipes-there is no "assembly line" construction at S. Bang. They bounce ideas off of each other, of course, and admit that when problems arise in a pipe, it is nice to have a partner to discuss them with.

Though they carve pipes as individuals, there are similarities in their work. All Bang pipes are made with black, hand-cut vulcanite stems.
The same engineering is used by both carvers as well. The shape and size of the tobacco chambers vary according to size and design of the pipe, but each carver follows the same design guidelines for choosing the proper chamber dimensions. The smoke channel is always engineered for optimum performance.

Bang pipes are noted for the high definition and fine contrast in the grain. They undergo a double staining process to achieve that effect. The technique makes the grain leap from the bowl of the pipe, making well-grained wood become extra ordinary. The same coloring, however, will produce different results in different pieces of briar, making each pipe is truly individual.

Per Hansen is the designated sandblasting artist for the team. He personally takes those pieces that are to be sandblasted to Stanwell, and is permitted to use the sandblasting equipment himself. That is the only S. Bang process, though, that is not executed by the individual carver of each pipe. Everything else, including the famous S. Bang silver work, is done in the shop by each of the carvers on his own pipes

Bang pipes for the U.S. market are stamped with year and number codes and the personal stamp of the carver. The number is not a grading stamp - it just indicates which pipe it is.
For example, 9736 with the stamp PH would indicate that it was the 36th pipe made by Per Hansen in the year 1997
There are no grade stamps on U.S. pipes - all S. Bangs are high grade

Most European-bound pipes are stamped with letters to designate the grade in the following ascending order:
Black blast, Tan blast, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C and, very rarely, you might find a D.

The S. Bang workshop is almost invisible in the bustling city of Copenhagen. A more elaborate storefront is not required, because S. Bang pipes are not sold in Denmark.